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An Analysis of Cache Partitioning Techniques for Chip Multiprocessor Systems

Konstantinos Nikas


Currently, there is a trend to increase the number of processors on a single chip leading to the development of chip multiprocessor (CMP), and eventually many-core, architectures. Cache design has been extensively studied in the context of uniprocessor systems and computer architects have transfered existing policies and cache design techniques from uniprocessors to the new architectures. A typical example of such a migration is the employment of the Least Recently Used (LRU) replacement policy, which is widely accepted as the best line replacement policy for uniprocessor caches. However the parameters are different in CMP systems, as the sharing of the cache hierarchy amongst several concurrent threads imposes new constraints and creates new challenges. It is important, therefore, to reevaluate the effectiveness of these policies in CMP architectures. This thesis investigates the interference between threads that run simultaneously on CMPs sharing different levels of the cache hierarchy and evaluates cache partitioning as a means of alleviating its consequences. Several schemes are studied and their advantages and drawbacks are used as a guide for the development of a novel, low-cost cache partitioning scheme that achieves better performance than LRU and shows increasing promise over alternative schemes as the number of on-chip processors increases.

The thesis is available as PDF (6.5MB).